PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island will soon receive a shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, but some residents are weary of whether they want to receive it.
The one-dose vaccine was recently approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), though studies have shown it is only 67% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Johnson & Johnson said a study found their vaccine has prevented hospitalizations and deaths, which R.I. Department of Health Medical Director Dr. James McDonald said is key in combatting the pandemic.
“It’s hard to compare the vaccines head-to-head though, because they weren’t studied head-to-head and they were studied at different times during the pandemic,” McDonald said.
But Woonsocket resident Michael Richardson isn’t convinced, and is hopeful he will be able to choose which vaccine he receives.
“If it comes down to taking the Johnson & Johnson when they call me and say I’m eligible, or waiting another week or two, I would prefer to wait and take the Moderna or Pfizer,” he said.
Rhode Islanders who have a preference on which COVID-19 vaccine they want to receive can choose which one they get, but only to a certain degree, according to McDonald.
The website to sign up for a vaccine at the state run clinics will list which type of vaccine the site will administer. Rhode Islanders can choose which site to get a vaccine, if they have a preference.
But McDonald, as well as other national experts, are urging everyone not to wait and recommend getting the vaccine regardless of what company made it.
“If you have a preference you can go have your preference,” he said. “My preference, is you go get the next vaccine that is available.”
McDonald said it’s unclear at this time which clinics will be offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and it most likely won’t be determined until the doses arrive in Rhode Island. The first shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines is expected to arrive within the coming days.